Tag Archives: kitchen

How To Make Hot Tamales

Standard

It’s not about the recipe…

 

Making hot tamales is a process

First, you gather in a loved one’s kitchen

and find the well-worn recipe

Stir up the cornmeal, shortening and hot water

while you laugh about how

the generation before you used to

perform this same ritual

imageimage

Next it’s time

to roll the meat for the filling

and laugh some more

because somebody thought

the meat logs were funny

image

Then comes the assembly line

of putting the cornmeal mixture

onto the tamale wrapper

sticking the meat log inside

and wrapping it all up

repeating until we’re done

image

image

We congratulate each other

saying “these look like

they turnt out right” and

laughing about how

someone ended up with

cornmeal in her hair

Then it’s time to

boil them all up and

smother them in the chili

that’s been patiently waiting

And savor this

Belly-and-Soul-warming meal

seasoned with

Laughter

image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Fall, Y’all!

Standard

Chilly weather, and chili weather…

My cousin Judy has lots of kitchen traditions she has built with her family over the years.  The first snowfall of the season always brings a homemade pie, for example.  For the last couple of years, Judy has opened her kitchen up for “Fall-Chili-And-Hot-Tamale-Making-Day”.  And we’ve already started talking about this year’s installment!  I can’t wait to spend time together, stirring the chili pot, making the mixtures of meat and meal, assembling those little packages of tamale goodness!  We share the work and then share the finished product, with me and anyone else who helped taking some home to enjoy later. And of course, we have to taste and see that what we made was good!  Quality control, after all.

image

It reminds me of the times when Mama and “Mamaw” Allred, Aunt Martha, Aunt Ruby and/or any combination of them, would gather in someone’s kitchen to make tamales, or candy, or to can tomatoes and green beans in the summertime.  Shared work provided shared goodies, as well as lots of laughs and fun.  The foods they prepared nourished both body and soul.

I look forward to chili-and-hot-tamale-making-day, for the yummy food we hope to make.  But even more than the physical food, I look forward to the comfort of time spent together with Judy and whoever else can join us (both Reed and Jeff have helped in the past), carrying on the traditions of the generation before us.  And I think this year, cake may need to happen!

image

Well Seasoned

Standard

Some things improve over time…

I remember once

as a young bride

trying to fry up some potatoes

like Mama used to do.

I was using a brand-new

shiny skillet.

Mercy, that skillet was beautiful,

but my potatoes

stuck to the pan and

smoked up the whole kitchen.

My shiny new skillet

was not

well seasoned.

Now, nearly 30 years later,

I have some of Mama’s old skillets.

I think they were Granny’s first.

Any good cook knows

what a priceless treasure

a hand-me-down skillet is.

My favorite one

bears the scars of age and heat,

scraped mercilessly

as forks scrambled eggs

and that old metal spatula

flipped slices of bacon.

It’s the best skilllet in the whole kitchen.

It hasn’t been shiny in decades,

but it lends a

depth of flavor

to whatever is cooked in it.

Raw ingredients go in and get

transformed into

well seasoned food

for belly and soul.

No matter how hot the skillet gets,

nothng will stick to it anymore.

image

image